"People will wonder about what you are doing. You have to explain about the thread."
What We Believe About Travel
Tour Leader and Globetrotter Fred Sigman
Fred Sigman is an art history professor, visual artist and documentary filmmaker. He began traveling at the age of ten when his mother moved him and his siblings from their home in Asheville, North Carolina and embarked on an extended tour through Europe. After driving through five countries, and living for a time in Spain and England, the family eventually settled in Paris. From there, further journeys were made during which time Fred developed his interests and talents in art. He lived in Europe until his mid-teens. As an adult, Fred has lived throughout the United States, Mexico, Peru and Cambodia.
For thirty years, Fred has organized and led tours around the world. When living in Baja California, Mexico, Fred introduced photographers and writers to the landscapes of the 18th century mission churches. As a professor at the University of Nevada, he took anthropology and art students around the Southwest to view and study ancient cultures, such as the Anasazi as well as art tours to France. Fred has also led tours for the Smithsonian Institution and for Road Scholar. Through his own business he has organized and led tours to Peru, Thailand, Cambodia, China and France.
What Kinds of Tours?
We cater to the interests of
✔ teachers and poets
✔ photographers and artists
✔ videographers and storytellers
Fred with his Myanmar handler Kya'swe
We customize your itinerary which we prefer to limit from 3 to 8 travelers.
Destination hopping? Getting to know the people and places is more gratifying than spending time getting to places and checking into hotels.
My personal experience? The itineraries I create come from my own years of traveling to or living in the places we visit.
What are you seeking? All tours can be personally tailored for your interests and budget (backpacker to the royal treatment).
How can you prepare for your journey? When you sign up, you are automatically enrolled for free in theWanderSight online course that covers your destination.
So, come along with us. I return to the same places over long arcs of time; and wonderfully, many of the same people I have met along the way are still there.
Please, take a look at some of our destinations.
Contact me with your questions and comments.
We can send you samples of previous tours.
Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population. It is also home of the world’s largest Buddhist monument, Borobudur. On the island of Bali, however, most of the inhabitants are Hindu. As followers of these Indian traditions, they understand the balance humans play in the three-part division of the cosmos, with people equalizing the forces good and evil. In this tour we explore the fascinating worlds of Balinese culture. Based in Ubud, we will visit temples and witness ceremonies from sea to volcano. Attend gamelan music events. Study the art and visit the studios of painters and sculptors.
Before visiting Cambodia, most travelers think only of Angkor Wat. It is certainly magnificent and requires many visits to understand its layout and meaning. While it is the largest, it is not the only 12th century temple in the country. This tour is an immersive journey into the world of the Khmer people, then and now. Temple fatigue quickly sets in, so we will visit villages, travel through the countryside and savor the tastes of Cambodian cuisine. We will be based in Siem reap where participants can also attend yoga session and enjoy some of the finest wellness and massage facilities in Southeast Asia.
A long history spread over a vast landscape. Where does a traveler start? There is a wall there. Many of us know it as the “Great.” To the Chinese, it has always been the “Long.” A perfect analogy for any visit to China; it is long but never long enough. Travel as a pilgrim. Meander as a poet. Draw, photograph or collect. Perhaps the way to approach a journey to China is not as a tourist checking off a list of sights/sites. Late 19th century explorer Victor Segalen wrote he did not go to China to discover China, but to find “a vision of China.” While searching for that image he discovered much about his own wanderlust. We can plan a trip to China as a voyage to yourself.
There are only four places on earth where I can return home: to the mountains of my native Appalachia; the streets of Paris where I grew up; the deserts of the American Southwest, and strangely, to Myanmar. On my first visit to this Southeast Asian country, a military government then held sway, and many of its citizens were secret informants. My self-consciousness gave way as I traversed a landscape animated by a people devoted to the Buddha. In the thousands of temples that serve as not only places of prayer but also community centers, I found myself at home, in spite of my obvious foreignness. I have traveled there for twelve years, and Myanmar always welcomes me back.
Along the way in my travels through ancient Peru, I have collected Moche figures, gourds engraved with scenes of Peru, and religious Cusqueño paintings. Mostly I gather textiles. They seem more emblematic to my style of travel. “You cannot weave without thread,” is an old Peruvian saying. Gathering and weaving the thread gives a continuing image of where one has been. A journey to Peru is like weaving. The many patterns made up of a spectrum of colors hangs in our memory. Often, to visit Machu Picchu up north – the destination of most visitors to Peru – I begin in the south, around Lake Titicaca where the remains of the pre-Inca culture of the Aymara stand. Threading my way north through the Andes gives me an understanding of the Inca and their descendants. Peru can be explored following many such trails.
The American Southwest has captured the imaginations of people the world over. The landscapes and cultures portrayed in Western movies have fueled this narrative of who and what is America. And just who and what is the Southwest? Traveling through the varied landscape of New Mexico and Arizona, we will experience the three distinct cultures that have formed the modern-day Southwest: Native American, Hispanic and Anglo. From ancient architecture to contemporary art museums; high mountain villages to deep canyon farms, the goal of this tour is to understand not only these three cultures, but also to appreciate how they have intersected and influenced one another.
Sweltering heat and humidity. Smells and sounds mingling that were both pleasant and disgusting. That was my state of disorientation on the first day in my first Asian country: Thailand. I can’t get enough of it now, sixteen years later. Bangkok is one of the few metropolises I can feel at home in. To the north is Sukhothai, the old 13th century capital. It is a place dominated by Buddhist statues and temples, as is much of Thailand. This is a country where the food is as diverse as the geography. A journey through Thailand reminds us, as often pointed out, that the word ‘travel’ comes from the French word ‘travail,’ meaning ‘work.’ Beginning one’s Asian journeys in Thailand shows how complicated and diverse the world is. Even with wonderful sites to see and history to explore, it is the people of Thailand that reveals why you came.
There remain in the world few places we would call an “inverted landscape.” This term is more suitable than “sacred landscape.” A world turned inside out, accessed thorough seers and shamans. Yucatan, with its ancient Maya cities set among the forests and hills, is just such a place where people come for insight and healing. Unfortunately, the primal ceremonies have fostered New Age tours that often misinterpret and dilute sacred and secret practices. On the other hand, such forms of tourism do not prevent deeply felt and insightful experiences set among the forests and ruins of the Maya. No one can promise a visitor a specific experience; come with us and see what you find for yourself.